Meet The Woman Who Designed The New Acura NSX
Georgina Chapman, an English fashion designer and actress, used to say: “I’m a designer, not a business woman.”
But Donatella Versace said: “ A business woman needs a successful mix of design and practicality.”
Michelle Christensen is a successful mix of design and practicality. But she is a designer, not a business woman–yet, she designed a super car.
It has been 3 years since Acura introduced its NSX super-car concept. And at Detroit 2015, they finally made its debut. “After three years of intensive development work, we are excited to reveal this next-generation super car — the Acura NSX — to the world. The NSX will deliver a new sports experience true to its heritage and to the super-car concept that originally gave rise to the name NSX. The NSX will serve as the ultimate expression of Acura performance that is fueling a re-energized brand”, Ted Klaus, Chief Engineer announced excitedly.
Along with the new concept, Acura also honored Michelle Christensen, the first female design lead for a supercar. She joined the project in 2012 with the mission to “give an emotional, 3-D kind of feeling into the concept”. The Job Description seems simple, but not easy.
The spectacular exterior design was penned at Acura’s studio in Torrance, California, and the car will be made at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio. Honda says they will equip the new NSX with a powertrain comprised of a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, three electric motors (two at the front and one in the rear axle), north of 400 hp, an all-new seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission and Honda’s Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. These will help the car generate negative or positive torque on the wheels during cornering to aid handling and provide what Acura describes as an “on-the-rails-cornering” experience. Thanks to Acura’s engineers who refreshingly designed the engine, Christensen’s Team had more space for expressive profiles and ultramodern styling. “It gave us the opportunity to punch more holes in it and make it more exotic. From a styling standpoint, we were really excited to take it to the gym and beef it up,” said Christensen.
Before NSX, Christensen worked on the defunct ZDX crossover and the RLX sedan. A woman who is truly passionate with cars. She grew up in Northern California, where her family drag-raced. Her childhood was a special time playing with the 1932 Ford, Plymouth GTX and Dodge Super Bee, which soon became her inspirations. Christensen went to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where she achieved the high distinction with the project “Re-image the Plymouth Barracuda”.
“I developed a passion for mechanical things. I like the noise of an engine and the way cars smell,” said Christensen
Just like a writer, a designer crafts a compelling story to sell the design language. And with strong passion, Christensen’s talent is now flying.